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Verdugo Views: Created to age gracefully

April 25, 2013|By Katherine Yamada
  • This photo was taken looking northeast from the intersection of Rossmoyne Avenue and Julio Drive (now Cortez Drive). Note the Rossmoyne development sign posted at the cross street, Mountain Street. Photo, ca late 1920s.
This photo was taken looking northeast from the intersection… (Courtesy of Special…)

Back in 1924, when Alexander Nibley and his partners began planning a new development, they targeted people who were, even then, seeking to leave the increasingly crowded city for a place with more greenery and less noise and congestion.

An early Nibley brochure read, "Rossmoyne is within a matter of minutes from Los Angeles, yet it might be in another world," as noted in an article "An Historic Neighborhood" included in the Rossmoyne Historic District application.

The new residential development was to be on land previously owned by Erskine Mayo Ross. He had purchased the 1,100 acre ranch from his uncle, Captain Cameron E. Thom, around 1870. Ross' property was bordered on one side by Verdugo Road and on the other by the village of Casa Verdugo.

Ross immediately planted trees, including orange, deciduous fruit and olive trees, and built a mill for making olive oil. The trees were still bearing fruit when the development began. Many were torn out, but residents say a few of the old trees still dot the landscape. (For more on Ross, see Verdugo Views Nov 15, 2003)


Ross was a reluctant seller. He didn't want the area's natural beauty destroyed and it is possible his views had some influence on Nibley's development, according to the Rossmoyne history article. "The setting couldn't have been more ideal, magnificent, untouched mountains provided a majestic backdrop. Homes were nestled in the foothills, with dramatic views of Glendale and downtown Los Angeles.''

Nibley, the son of lumber baron Charles Nibley of Portland, Oregon, brought his family to this area right around 1921. He teamed up with Lon J. Haddock, a former college professor from Utah.

Their company, Haddock-Nibley, also developed the Glendale Heights neighborhood around the intersection of Adams and Palmer. An ad that ran in the Los Angeles Times in 1922 described Glendale Heights as "the wonder tract" and boasted that it was "an ideal residence property for men and women of modest means who care."

With the Rossmoyne tract, however, Nibley wanted to attract the upper middle class, those of "independent means and comfortable circumstances," noted the January 16, 1926 Glendale Evening News.

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